Carl Sandburg College (Sandburg), a public community college in the US state of Illinois, had been looking for the right video platform for faculty and students for a number of years.
With a 1,600 student population and a small, tight-knit community of teaching staff, the college has relied on Open LMS, for online teaching instruction, especially since 2020. However, a standalone video recording tool that also allowed its instructors to easily create and distribute video was still missing. Through a new plugin available in Open LMS, Sandburg found Instilled to be the right video tool for its faculty and students.
The Challenge: Meeting Faculty Demand For Video and Driving Student Engagement
Historically, Sandburg has been a technology-forward higher education institution, continuously looking to innovate on tools and resources for the benefit of staff and students. While it relies heavily on its Moodle™-based LMS platform to deliver online courses, it also needed a simple yet effective video platform that would allow faculty to easily record themselves and share video with students.
Whether to create a quick introductory video for a new class, share a video explaining difficult concepts, or create a simple tutorial to help students navigate resources, a video tool was needed to further engage with students beyond the set online course materials. It would also facilitate learning on the go, as many of its students had other responsibilities beyond studying.
“Ease of use, responsive design, affordability, and great customer support were some of the key requirements the video technology had to meet in order for the college to successfully adopt it”, explains Cindy K. Arthur. Arthur is a former teacher and is presently the Coordinator of Instructional Technology at the Faculty Teaching Learning Center (FTLC) at the college.
“We needed an easy way to get onto a platform, hit a button and record. I mean, it sounds so simple, but we didn’t even have that before Instilled. When we want faculty to implement new tools, we have to make it as easy as possible”, continued Arthur. FTLC’s continued success with introducing new technology to staff is a result of the trust built between the department and the faculty. Staff trust the college to make sound decisions on their behalf, and the success of each new technology adoption relies on meeting faculty needs.
The Solution: Adopting Instilled to Offer Faculty an Additional Instruction Component Within the LMS
Having a strong relationship with its LMS provider, Arthur was introduced to a brand-new video plugin available for Open LMS clients. Instilled offered the intuitive video functionality Sandburg was looking for and it was available within the same LMS environment, making it easy for faculty to start using it. “Having access to Instilled right in our LMS made using it very easy. It kept things familiar: both in terms of the design and consistency in terminology. All those things combined made it extremely easy for our faculty to learn and use it”, explained Arthur.
“Students simply expect the technology to work”, explains Arthur, and Instilled offers the right design and flexibility for students to view and review recordings during commute, during work breaks or just to review information as needed to learn concepts. Faculty also enjoy being able to monitor viewership and assign points, as it incentivizes student behavior. The platform also includes social media functionality such as liking and commenting, making it easy and engaging for students to interact with each other and with their instructor.
After a successful three-month pilot, the FTLC surveyed stakeholders and signed off on a one-year contract. “Jeff Fissel, the VP of Solutions at Instilled was a factor in our decision. He has been very attuned to anything we need and any requests we had were completed in just three weeks. I mean, that doesn’t happen with a lot of products. I feel very comfortable working with the Instilled team”, shared Arthur.
Being a small campus has clear advantages for Sandburg’s FTLC, which typically provides one-on-one sessions for staff to review new technology and share knowledge. The college also holds professional development days and a one-day, technology-focused event called “Tech Connect” to promote new products and communicate updates. Up to 40% of staff usually attend and it’s an effective way to encourage tech adoption and usage.
The Results: Enabling Engaging, Flexible, and Interactive Video Functionality, a Win for All
By adopting Instilled, Sandburg now offers faculty a video platform that enables a personable component to any class, keeping both online and in-person classes more engaging for students. Feedback on Instilled has been positive so far. From the faculty’s perspective, the video functionality is easy to use, allows them to create video or screen share, is mobile-friendly, and has closed-captioning functionality which must be available for all students. From the students’ perspective, if they can use it intuitively with a click of a button and it has responsive design, it’s a winner.
In just over three months, Sandburg faculty have already created and uploaded 107 videos, totalling 51 hours of content and benefitting up to 20% of the student population so far. Arthur notes that faculty can be more productive in preparing video materials using Instilled since it’s already installed within the LMS. “Posting the video is also much faster. With other products, links had to be created once uploaded and then added. With Instilled, this is much easier. Also, having added the grade component is huge for us, no other product that we had offered this”.
Arthur and the FTLC expect more faculty to adopt video in the summer and fall months and don’t see video going anywhere, even if in-person classes resume. With Instilled, faculty can easily complement their lectures, which are always found in an online format these days, regardless of whether in-person or online.
“I’ve been very happy with Instilled. When considering new technology, you always consider specific aspects. Is it easy to use? Do you have good support? Do you have the ear of the developers in that they want to make the product better? With Instilled I can tick all of those boxes. It’s hard to put a dollar amount on the experience that faculty and students will have, but Instilled gives us a real return on investment in that experience. I think that’s what has made it such a great product” – Cindy K. Arthur, Faculty Teaching Learning Center, Carl Sandburg College.